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Demetria Taylor – Bad Girl

Delmark 2011

12 tracks; 66.49 minutes

The late Eddie Taylor left a considerable musical legacy, with many of his children now playing the blues for a living. Eddie Jr. is a well-established guitar player and Tim plays the drums for Eddie Shaw; daughters Edna and Brenda both sing. Now youngest daughter Demetria is ready to launch her recording career, having already appeared at the Chicago Blues Festival and doing on vocals on Eddie Jr’s releases. For this release Delmark has assembled a who’s who of Chicago blues players to support Demetria brilliantly throughout. The core band is Eddie Taylor Jr. and Shun Kikuta on guitars, Roosevelt “Madhatter” Purifoy on keys, Greg McDaniel on bass and Pookie Styx on drums. Guest spots include Billy Branch on harmonica on four tracks, Eddie Shaw on sax on five tracks, Big Time Sarah on vocals on two tracks and Luke Pytel (Shirley Johnson’s guitarist) replaces Kikuta on two tracks.

Trading on one of her father’s songs, Demetria has entitled this CD “Bad Girl”, a tag that the record company is looking to use as a tag for her! Demetria’s voice has the classic combination of power and grit and it is no surprise to discover that she is a great fan of the late Koko Taylor (but not related!). The material on the CD all comes from the greats of Chicago blues – Willie Dixon, Magic Sam, Koko Taylor, Luther Allison, plus some songs of more recent vintage such as Nora Jean Bruso’s “Goin’ Back To Mississippi” and her brother Eddie’s “I Can’t Take It No More”.

The CD opens with a powerful medley of Bo Diddley’s “I’m A (Wo)Man and Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie (Wo)Man”. As with most of the CD the version is extended, allowing plenty of solo space for the players, in this case the two guitarists and Purifoy’s piano. Magic Sam’s “All Your Love” (not to be confused with Otis Rush’s song of the same name) follows and there is some lovely accompaniment on the guitars and piano.

Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman” moves along at a funky pace, the sound embellished by Eddie Shaw’s sax and Purifoy’s soulful organ playing. Eddie stays around for the title track and Billy Branch also jumps in to lead off on a classic Chicago shuffle. Demetria’s voice suits the song perfectly and the whole piece swings like crazy. After that we get a breather with a slow blues from the pen of Stan Banks who wrote the song for his bandleader Artie “Blues Boy” White. Eddie Shaw is still aboard for this one and takes a fine solo amidst great ensemble playing from the band.

“Goin’ Back To Mississippi” is a stomper, Eddie’s sax again supporting the vocals throughout. It’s a strong song and I am surprised that it is not covered more often, especially by strong female singers, so it’s a good choice for Demetria. “Big Boss Man” on the other hand is probably over familiar, but the band does a good job with the warhorse, Billy Branch leading off on harp and Demetria wailing hard on vocals. “Cherry Red Wine” is a personal favorite of mine from Luther Allison’s original, so I was interested to hear how Demetria and her band tackled the song. For a start Eddie Taylor Jr. does an excellent job providing the passion and angst on guitar that the song’s tragic lyrics require while Eddie Shaw marks his final appearance with another sterling performance. Shun Kikuta also hits the spot for me on his middle solo before Eddie’s tumbling notes on his sax solo seals the deal – this is a great version of a great song.

Eddie Taylor Jr’s “I Can’t Take It No More” sees Roosevelt Purifoy’s organ blending nicely with the guitars. Luke Pytel replaces Shun Kikuta on this upbeat tune and brings a different style to proceedings with a slightly jazzy feel to his playing on a tune that recalls “Messin’ With The Kid”. Pytel stays for the next track, “Trying To Make A Living”, written by Cadillac Baby (Narvel Eatmon), a 1960 hit for the little known Bobby Saxton. It’s an upbeat tune with some BB King references in the guitar playing. Demetria’s singing on both these lesser known tunes is excellent.

The final two tracks feature Billy Branch and Big Time Sarah who trades verses with Demetria on Willie Dixon’s two classics, “Little Red Rooster” and “Wang Dang Doodle”, paying tribute to Howling Wolf and Koko Taylor. Sarah’s voice is a little deeper than Demetria’s and both singers acquit themselves well. Shun Kikuta provides some slashing slide work on “Rooster” and Billy’s harp work is all over both tracks, making a strong finish to the CD.

Overall this is a promising debut CD from Demetria who plans to do more original material the next time round. Meanwhile this one is recommended to all fans of classic Chicago blues.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.

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